After living with my Lola for the last five years, through my brief year in law school through multiple work trips and emergencies, I was beginning to think she was going to last through some of the major milestones in her grandchildren's lives. Even being stricken with pneumonia, being diagnosed with Parkinson's and just all the ailments that come with age, my grandmother was a strong woman.
After a few weeks in the United States, I heard the tough news from my sister that my grandmother had suffered a stroke. My heart sank at the news because I knew she was tired. She was pretty old and had lived an incredibly packed life. She'd outlived so many of her peers. But somehow, I think we all knew it was heading towards the end of her story.
Sure enough, a week later, the morning after they brought her home to rest in her own bed, my Lola passed in the early hours of the morning.
It was tough. After living with Lola for so long, I knew that I wanted to be around when she passed. But somehow my first long trip abroad, that's when she went. It's tough because I didn't get a chance to really talk to her before she left us. But it's not about me and she was able to get all but one of her nine kids with her in the Philippines before she passed. And that is pretty amazing.
I knew I loved Lola a lot but I don't think I realized how much more I did until after she passed. And so to say a proper goodbye, here's a little eulogy I wrote for her.
We're saying goodbye to Lola Carmen today. I can't say a eulogy because I will be a basketcase but it is an honor I can't pass up to say goodbye to my Lola.
My grandmother is 89 years old and she’s always been strong and clever and accomplished. I’ve lived with her for five years already and I never really noticed great big changes about her. It’s only when family comes to visit and they point it out that I am able to take a step back and go “huh. You’re right, she is more frail than she used to be.”
But the last couple of years have changed it. Sure, she’s old but I feel like living with her gives me a front-row seat to her deterioration. She was diagnosed with Parkinson’s a year ago but her moments of forgetfulness always felt like it was more old age than anything. The last few months, the shaking has started and even I’ve gotten used to that.
But she was hospitalized a week ago for mild pneumonia, just as a precaution. When she got back from the hospital, things changed really fast. The day after she came back, it felt like her mind had just taken a huge blow. There’s dementia (a horrible terrible sounding word) but worse, that could just be a symptom of Alzheimer’s, I don’t know
Abbi is a petite human, blogger, amateur photographer, permanent humanitarian, avid traveller, culture addict, giant bookworm and impossible foodie.